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Stars and the Sun. BC Science Probe 9 Section 13.3-13.4 Pages 425-436. Stars. Stars have a life cycle. Beginning (birth) Midlife End (death) The Sun, which is the star closest to us, has been around for 5 billion years and is expected to last another 5 billion years. Stellar Birth.

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stars and the sun

Stars and the Sun

BC Science Probe 9

Section 13.3-13.4

Pages 425-436

  • Stars have a life cycle.
    • Beginning (birth)
    • Midlife
    • End (death)
  • The Sun, which is the star closest to us, has been around for 5 billion years and is expected to last another 5 billion years.
stellar birth
Stellar Birth
  • Stars are born when nebulas collapse on themselves.
    • Small amounts of matter collide and stick together making bigger masses that have more gravity.
stellar birth1
Stellar Birth
  • When the nebula begins to collapse, the region with the greatest density will pull more of the hydrogen gas toward it than the rest and will begin to grow.
  • This is called a protostar.
stellar birth2
Stellar Birth
  • Once the protostar gains enough mass and gets dense enough, that material in the centre will become hot enough to start nuclear fusion!
nuclear fusion
Nuclear Fusion
  • This happens in the core of the star.
  • Hydrogen nuclei fuse together to form helium nuclei.
  • 6 hydrogen protons fuse to produce 1 helium nucleus with 2 protons and 2 neutrons as well as 2 free protons and a ridiculous amount of energy!
  • The energy can be in the form of heat, light, x-rays, gamma rays and particles.
nuclear fusion2
Nuclear Fusion
  • The energy of the nuclear fusion causes thermal expansion.
    • The force of the expansion counters and balances the gravity to stop the collapse.
  • Our Sun went through this process. It probably took 30 million years to condense and ignite.
stellar midlife
Stellar Midlife
  • The fusing of hydrogen to helium continues just like what is happening in the Sun right now.
  • The energy that is released can take thousands of years to reach the outer layers of the Sun where it is released as light.
solar anatomy
Solar Anatomy
  • The part of the Sun that produces the energy is the core.
    • Temp. - 1.5 x 107 ⁰C
    • Radius – 1.75 x 105 km
solar anatomy1
Solar Anatomy
  • The next layer of the Sun is the radiative zone.
    • 3.5 x 105 km thick
solar anatomy2
Solar Anatomy
  • The outer layers of the Sun are the convective zone and the photosphere.
  • Convective zone
    • 2 x 105 km thick
    • 2 x 106 ⁰C
  • Photosphere – the visible part of the Sun
    • 300 km thick
    • 5500 ⁰C
solar anatomy3
Solar Anatomy
  • The layers all rotate at different speeds and once the energy reaches the convective zone, it moves by convection currents to the surface.
solar anatomy4
Solar Anatomy
  • Outside of the photosphere are the chromosphere and the corona.
  • Chromosphere
    • Layer of gases at 60 000 ⁰C
  • Corona
    • Layer of gases at 2 x 106 ⁰C
the sun s surface
The Sun’s Surface
  • The surface of the Sun is not smooth and featureless.
  • It looks more like the surface of a boiling liquid.
the sun s surface1
The Sun’s Surface
  • Sunspots
    • Dark spots on the surface of the Sun.
    • The vary in size and regularity.
    • Caused by disturbances in the Sun’s magnetic field.
    • They appear in pairs with opposite magnetic poles which disturb the magnetic field more.
    • The magnetic disturbances caused by sunspots can lead to solar flares and solar prominences.
the sun s surface2
The Sun’s Surface
  • Solar prominences
    • 1 x 1011 tonnes of glowing hydrogen released from the photosphere.
    • Last 4-5 minutes
the sun s surface3
The Sun’s Surface
  • Solar flares
    • Ejection of large quantities of gas and charged particles.
    • Last a very short time
the sun s surface4
The Sun’s Surface
  • Solar wind
    • This is happening all the time.
    • Ionized gas emitted from the Sun.
    • Stronger when there are flares and prominences.
    • Creates aurora borealis.
    • Disrupts communications equipment and other electronic systems.